The star real estate broker of the show Numéros 1 à CASA Mathieu Arseneault, whose viral videos have attracted attention outside of social networks, will not have his license suspended, the OACIQ disciplinary committee ruled on Friday. A decision received with relief by the broker, who feared losing his right to work just before Christmas.
On the third day of hearings in the offices of the Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtageimmobilier du Québec (OACIQ) in Brossard, the disciplinary committee heard the pleadings of both parties and rendered its decision within the hour.
“Even if the committee came to the conclusion that the respondent’s videos are derogatory, which does not have to be decided at this stage, nothing in the evidence demonstrates that the public is in danger due to the behavior of the respondent. “respondent,” read the president of the disciplinary committee, Daniel Fabien.
The investigation by OACIQ assistant trustee Julie Gagnon concluded that Mathieu Arseneault uses social networks in a way that brings into disrepute the honor, dignity, image and integrity of brokers, which this use currently puts at risk. jeopardizes the protection of the public and taints the bond of trust between real estate brokers and consumers.
The assistant trustee requested the provisional suspension of the broker’s operating license pending the conclusions of the disciplinary hearings which will take place in 2024.
According to the jurisprudence of the Professional Tribunal, the provisional cancellation mechanism has always been considered a draconian and exceptional measure, explained the president of the disciplinary committee to both parties as well as the media and brokers who attended the hearing.
“In our opinion, the equation that the assistant trustee makes between the offenses and the need for immediate protection of the public is too simple,” declared Daniel Fabien. In the opinion of the committee, there is no concrete fact which establishes that there is a risk for the protection of the public if Mathieu Arseneault continues to practice the profession of broker, specified the president.
If the assistant union member considers that the videos presented in evidence are in bad taste and derogatory to the honor and dignity of the profession, this is a value judgment which is not supported by the evidence, according to the committee.
On this subject, the president recalled that the Professional Court had already decided that advertising in bad taste did not constitute a disciplinary offense.
“Disciplinary justice certainly aims to protect the public, but it must also treat fairly those whose livelihood is placed in its hands,” read the president, recalling a decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal.
The committee made its decision verbally and may revise it later.
The OACIQ spokesperson, Me Caroline Champagne, vice-president of management, said she was disappointed with the decision of the disciplinary committee. Also disappointed by the fact that the president did not allow the OACIQ lawyer, Me Isabelle Martel, to amend the complaint to add a second charge on Friday morning.
The trustee received a complaint about threats and intimidation from Mr. Arsenault in connection with negative comments published about him and with the disciplinary hearing, explains Me Caroline Champagne. “It will be up to the disciplinary committee to decide, but if it is proven, it is serious,” she said in an interview.
Were there any shortcomings in the trustee’s investigation? asked La Presse. “Absolutely not,” Mr. Champagne insisted. The OACIQ as regulator had a lot of courage, because there is no precedent in terms of what can be done by professionals on social networks. The OACIQ trustee says: “Enough is enough, we must draw a line between what is ethical and what is not.” »
Could a judge, lawyer or accountant do this? she asks.
The disciplinary committee is an entity completely independent of the OACIQ, created under the Real Estate Brokerage Act, the OACIQ reminded.